Can hypnotherapy help with anxiety?

by | | Anxiety Relief

Perhaps you’re someone who is curious about using hypnotherapy to help you gain freedom from a particular anxiety disorder. Perhaps you have booked an appointment with your Doctor, but also want to do some research into alternative treatments such as mindfulness, meditation counseling, or hypnotherapy as an alternative to taking medication.

This article will help to answer the question; does hypnotherapy help with anxiety? It also informs you why you are feeling anxious, what hypnotherapy is and how hypnotherapy can help you achieve positive changes to your life.

What is hypnotherapy?

Hypnotherapy is a form of therapy that uses hypnosis/trance to bring about change. Studies have shown that hypnotherapy is an effective way of helping people to overcome a number of different mental health conditions including anxiety disorder. 

This is very different from what you may have seen in ‘stage hypnosis’, where a volunteer appears to be carrying out the requests of a hypnotist for others’ enjoyment. This tends to be people’s first impression of hypnotherapy which leads them to falsely believe that hypnotherapy is some kind of mind control.

One of the main differences between a stage hypnotist and clinical hypnotherapists is that one uses hypnosis for entertainment and one uses it to help people deal with anxiety and other mental health conditions in order that they live a more fulfilled life.


What is hypnosis?

A woman in a trance gazing out a window

You will probably have heard of both the terms hypnosis and trance. They can really be thought of being the same, as they both describe a time when we experience a shift in our conscious awareness and our body achieves a state of deep relaxation. 

It’s often described as being in a daydream. It’s a deeply relaxed state though you are not asleep. So when a person gazes out of the window, apparently thinking about nothing, they’ve gone into a light trance. It is known that we naturally go into trance many times throughout our normal day. This day dreaming state is a form of self-hypnosis. Infact all hypnosis is self hypnosis, you cannot be forced into trance.

Hypnosis is really a problem-solving state. This state allows different parts of your mind to communicate with each other enabling them to come up with solutions. Your brain can only do this when you’re in a state of deep relaxation. You can probably recall a time when you struggled to remember a friend’s name or the name of a book or film.

While you’re consciously thinking about it ‘racking your brains’ you just can’t remember it. It’s only later in the day when you’re in a state of relaxation that the name pops into your head. Hypnosis can help people to solve their problems and move them forwards from a position where they feel they’re just coping with life.


What is solution focused hypnotherapy?

A woman sitting with light bulbs representing solutions around her

Solution focused hypnotherapy is a type of clinical hypnotherapy that uses a variety of techniques including talking therapy and hypnosis to help both children and adults make positive changes to their lives. It can be thought of as a process of support that helps people to take control of their unhelpful emotions. It’s an effective treatment for a wide range of mental health conditions including anxiety disorders, depression and stress. It is a natural way to reduce anxiety symptoms.

The combination of talking therapy and hypnosis enables clients to find solutions to their problems during their sessions. It is focused on helping clients to work towards their preferred future. A time when they are free from the symptoms of the condition that they sought help for.

The content and structure of each session will be the same. The activities or techniques may differ between sessions depending on what the client hopes to achieve at the time.

Solution focused hypnotherapy focuses on the present and future. There is no need to fear that you’ll be asked to go over the past.

During therapy using future-focused questioning allows people to build up a picture in their minds of how they would like their life to be. Everyone will have a different future that they wish to achieve and this will usually change session by session as progress is made.

At the beginning of treatment, if a client is just coping with life their next step of progress towards this future will look very different than it will at the end. The solution focused hypnotherapist is not there to give advice, ideas, or suggestions, but just to ask questions to help their client imagine their future and find a number of practical ways that they can work towards it. A client may decide to adopt more healthy activities, such as priortritising their sleep or include more exercise in their week, but these decsions will be made by the client, not suggested by the therapist. 

Hypnosis enables the brain to find the right conditions in order to problem solve and help make this possible.

A user’s guide to solution focused hypnotherapy will give you a much more information the subject and explain in greater depth the benefits of using a solution focused approach to treat anxiety. 

Why do we create anxiety?

Anxiety is a stress response that is designed to keep us safe. Its origins lie within the primitive part of our brain. This part of our brain looks out for our survival, as such it sees situations and events through a negative view point.

If we feel threatened by either real or imagined threats, our bodies will produce stress hormones. These will increase our heart and breathing rate which increases blood flow to our muscles. This gives us the ability to either fight or run from the perceived threat.


The primitive brain – Your security guard

a child dressing up as a security guard

One of the major problems with thinking from the primitive brain is that as well as being negative, it can’t be innovative. It has to look out for previous patterns of behaviour. If for example, you feel anxious when meeting new people, the next time you meet people you’re likely to feel anxious again.

It’s also obsessional. Once your primitive brain has latched onto a belief it will remind you of it regularly. Your primitive brain is trying to keep you safe. It is believed to have the rationale and intelligence of a 4-5-year-old child and so it will often try to protect you from the most random things.

In addition, it’s always on red alert scanning for the next thing to try and protect you from, whether that threat or risk is real or imagined. Very often a small negative thought has a snowballing effect. Catastrophisaition means that the little thought becomes bigger and bigger in your mind often leading to feelings of overwhelm or exhaustion. Spending a lot of time thinking from this part of your brain can make it feel like your just about coping and holding things together.

In its misguided attempt to keep you SAFE your primitive brain can mistake things as being a THREAT

It’s OBSESSIONAL so it will keep worries playing out in your mind!

What creates anxiety?

Anxiety is caused by thoughts. It’s not the events in our lives that cause anxiety but our thoughts surrounding them. For many people going out to meet others for lunch is something to look forward to. For people with social anxiety, this usually isn’t the case. Before the event, they usually start to worry about how others perceive them and then afterwards can spend time analysing conversations they had and replaying them in their minds.


How does solution focused hypnotherapy help with anxiety?

A woman thinking

Solution focused hypnotherapy is based on neuroscience. This makes it particularly effective when dealing with anxiety, as it helps to replicate the way your brain works when it’s functioning well. Hypnotherapy helps your brain’s ability to change and focus on new objectives.

As a treatment solution focused hypnotherapy is fast. It’s quite possible to change your way of thinking in just a few weeks. Anxiety can mean that you spend a lot of time thinking from the emotional, negative, primitive part of your brain. In just a few weeks you will start to think more from the rational, positive, intellectual part finding relief from your anxiety symptoms.

Changing your outlook

If you focus on the more negative aspects of your life, you will tend to have low levels of self-confidence and self-esteem.

If, however, you focus on the more positive aspects of your life you can start to think about your future quite differently. Instead of thinking of a glass as being half empty, you start to think more optimistically about the future. This is possible because your brain is constantly changing, building up new pathways to send and receive messages.

Many people have heard the term ‘you are what you eat’ but ‘you are what you think’ is equally as true. What you focus on, you become. In a matter of weeks, you may start to think of the glass as being half full. As a result your levels of self-confidence and self-esteem naturally rise and your mental health improves.

Can hypnotherapy help with anxiety?

Solution focused hypnotherapy is an effective way to help people to achieve freedom from a number of different types of anxiety. You can find links to the most common ones below.


a woman with arms in the air free from anxiety


woman waking up smiling in bed

Driving anxiety

A women in a car smiling after using hypnotherapy to improve her driving confidence


A woman and child cleaning

Flying anxiety

A family standing on the steps of a plane feeling calm and happy having used hypnotherapy for fear of flying


A woman stroking a dog after being helped to overcome a dog phobia

Achieving freedom from your anxiety doesn’t need to be hard. It’s as simple as;

#01 Discover

You learn what’s happening to make you feel the way you do and how together we can quickly make you better.

#02 Change

We work together each week to bring about positive change helping you to calm your mind and reduce feelings of overwhelm.

#03 Thrive

No more living with anxiety. You’ve completely changed your way of thinking, allowing you to enjoy living the life you want.

Imagine not feeling trapped by your anxiety. How DIFFERENT would your life be?

Can solution focused hypnotherapy be carried out online?

One of the major benefits of solution focused hypnotherapy is that it can be carried out virtually. The therapy can actually be more beneficial when you are in your own familiar surroundings as you may find it easier to enter a trance state. You can find out more about online hypnotherapy here.

How many hypnotherapy sessions for anxiety?

The number of sessions you need to achieve freedom from your anxiety may be different to others. There are different variables that come into consideration, these include; the length of time that you have had anxiety, the type of anxiety you have and how committed you are to your therapy.

Solution focused hypnotherapy focuses on your preferred future. This is where you would want to be when all the problems you are currently experiencing have vanished. This is very individual and therefore the number of sessions needed to achieve this can differ between clients. However, it is very typical for people to enjoy freedom from their anxiety in just 6 to 12 sessions.

Why I believe I’m the right person to help you

I have spent my working life helping people to reach their potential. I get enormous satisfaction from helping people to change and become the best version of themselves.

I am a qualified hypnotherapist and a member of a number of awarding bodies which means I have to adhere to strict codes of conduct and continue to develop myself professionally. You can be sure your mental health is in a safe empathetic pair of hands.

I am one of the most highly reviewed hypnotherapists in the UK because I get results for my clients.

Ian Murton in woods with his sons

Based on the RESULTS I achieve for my clients and the standard of my work I have won several nationally recognised awards.

REST registered tutor
REST registered tutor
Best Hypnotherapy in Stevenage
Hypnotherapy Practise of the Year Winner

Think Better – Feel Better – Sleep Better

Author: Ian Murton HPD DSFH AfSFH Reg NCH Reg CNHC Reg is an award-winning Solution Focused Hypnotherapist running sessions via Zoom from his home on the Bedfordshire/ Hertfordshire border

Perhaps you might be interested in reading some of my other articles

Hypnotherapy for anxiety

Hypnotherapy for anxiety in children

Hypnotherapy for driving anxiety

Common myths about hypnotherapy

Anxiety UK Approved Therapist
REST registered tutor
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